We, citizens’ groups from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, join the EcoWaste Coalition and the Save Babies Coalition in urging the presidential candidates for the 2010 polls – as well as other well-meaning political contenders – to stand up against toxic chemicals that are harming our children’s health and their future.
We now know that newborn babies already carry a cocktail of toxic substances in their blood that are passed from parent to child from the earliest phases of life development.
With the growing and unrestrained use and discharge of insidious chemicals into the environment as our society industrializes, we find these substances from the manufacturing processes, consumption of products and the ensuing wastes creeping silently into the developing fetuses during the critical pre-natal period.
Studies show that children are born with over 300 industrial chemicals in their blood, including persistent organic pollutants, heavy metals and other substances of concern that are linked to the rising incidence of reproductive and developmental disorder, cancer and other serious health problems.
These chemicals are found in consumer products, locally manufactured or imported, such as baby bottles, children’s clothing, toys, school supplies, cosmetics and personal care products, slippers and shoes, household furniture, electronic and electrical items, and countless other products in the market.
Children are most vulnerable to chemical hazards primarily because their bodies are still developing. They are also very curious and explore their surroundings, picking at objects and putting them in their mouths. This activity frequently causes contaminants to be taken orally into their developing bodies.
Chemical exposure can interfere with a child’s ability to develop fully. Depending on the type of chemical, the degree and frequency of exposure and the child’s state of nutrition and health, chemical exposure can lead to asthma and other respiratory ailments, low IQ, mental retardation and developmental delays, immune and hormonal disorders, cancers and other grave health problems.
Chemical exposures and illnesses further worsen the dehumanizing cycle of poverty and poor health being faced by many Filipino children, and take away their opportunities to enjoy their youth and a productive adulthood.
For children living and working in the streets, dumpsites and other high risk places, the situation could be doubly worse because of the daily dose of environmental and health contaminants that they absorb from smoke-belching vehicles, toxin-filled mixed trash, burning dumps and landfills, and from the uncontrolled dismantling of discarded e-wastes, to name a few pollution sources.
Children likewise face dangers at home and at school, where they spend a great deal of their crucial developmental years, especially from toxic chemicals from plastics, fluorescent lights, electrical and electronic equipment, among others.
Now, more than ever, we need caring and judicious leaders who will take every step to ensure that Filipino children are born free of toxins and are able to grow, play, study and develop in a clean, safe and healthy environment.
We need a “Pangulong PATOK” who will defend children’s health first, uphold the precautionary principle and environmental justice, and enforce pollution prevention and reduction policies and regulations that will eliminate toxic body burden in children and in adults and in other organisms, too.
We therefore call upon all presidential candidates as well as others running for elective positions in May 2010 to recognize the special vulnerability of children, stop gambling with their health and decisively protect developing fetuses and children from harmful chemicals.
Specifically, we call upon them to:
ON 2010 ELECTIONS:
Decline campaign contributions from commercial and industrial sources such as pesticide, tobacco and infant formula milk companies that could affect their political integrity and independence to speak and act based on the public interest.
Observe the guidelines for “Waste-Free 2010 Elections” to prevent and reduce campaign trash and pollution, and promote an eco-friendly political exercise.
ON CHEMICAL POLICY REFORMS:
Pursue chemical policy reforms by translating the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) into a national chemical safety policy framework and action plan to achieve sustainable development, eradicate poverty and disease, and improve public health and the environment.
Promote robust policies that will identify, phase out and ban toxic chemicals of concern and bar the sale of products containing these chemicals, particularly, but not limited to, those known or suspected as persistent, carcinogenic, neurotoxic or endocrine disruptor, for which alternatives have been developed.
Proclaim schools, day care centers, hospitals and clinics, parks and play centers and others places frequented by children as “toxic-free zone” where children can be safe from the hazards of tobacco smoke, lead-containing paint and dust, mercury and mercury-containing products, and other toxic materials, with the vision of building a “toxic-free Philippines.”
Support legislation that will keep toys, children’s articles and school supplies, and any material containing toxic chemicals out of the hands of children.
Direct the elimination of lead paints in the name of children’s health and safety, and push for a national partnership involving the government, paint industry, healthcare sector and the civil society to accelerate its implementation.
Support the mercury-free school effort by issuing a directive that will ban the use of mercury and mercury-containing products in all public and private educational institutions, particularly in
elementary and high school levels, and declare February 16 of every year– in remembrance of the mercury spill at St. Andrew’s School in Parañaque City – as “Mercury-Free Day.”
Endorse the “Green Health Covenant” towards an environmentally-responsible and climate-friendly healthcare system, including action to phase out and ultimately ban mercury-containing
medical devices such as thermometers and sphygmomanometers.
Support all tobacco control measures as tobacco has absolutely no place in youth health and development, including raising taxes on all tobacco products, requiring graphic health warnings for all cigarettes/tobacco products, implementing smoke-free policies for all public places and conveyances, and stricter policies on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship.
Ban the aerial application of agro-chemicals in banana plantations and other commercial farms and promote a shift from chemical-intensive to ecological agriculture.
Push for the ratification of the Basel Ban Amendment and ensure a coherent national policy in this regard in order to protect the country’s environment from foreign toxic chemicals and wastes.
Support the establishment of poison prevention and control centers in the various regions to effectively address cases outside of the National Capital Region.
Allocate resources for scientific research on the link between chemical exposure and health outcomes in different age groups and in different settings.
ON THE ENFORCEMENT OF RELEVANT LAWS:
Enforce the Philippine Milk Code and promote and defend breastfeeding, ensuring that breastmilk – the first complete, ecological and Zero Waste food for humans – is protected from all types of contaminants and also from commercial assaults.
Implement the pollution prevention provisions of the Clean Air Act and the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, particularly the prohibition on open waste burning and waste incineration to prevent the formation and emission of toxic byproducts such as dioxin (a persistent organic pollutant), mercury (a heavy metal) and nitrous oxide (a greenhouse gas).
Ensure that all waste disposal facilities, including “transfer stations,” landfills and treatment plants, comply with health and environmental laws and standards and do not discharge harmful substances that could threaten public health and safety.
Implement mandatory product information labeling that will disclose all the chemical contents of products and their potential health and environmental effects as well as provide guidance on handling and waste management.
1. Froilan Grate, Add Up Volunteers
2. Tom Villarin, Akbayan
3. Chin-Chin Gutierrez, Alaga LAHAT
4. Gina Mejia, Angkan ng Mandirigma
5. Dr. Leah Primitiva G. Samaco-Paquiz, Ang NARS
6. Ines Fernandez, Arugaan/Save Babies Coalition
7. Velvet Roxas, Arugaan/Save Babies Coalition
8. Neil Llorente, Ateneo Student Catholic Action
9. Silverio J. Cardona, Balay Dabar Sur, Inc.
10. Jaime Briones, Children’s Helper Project
11. Joey Papa, Bangon Kalikasan Movement
12. Atty. Richard Gutierrez, Ban Toxics
13. Romeo Saclolo, Batangas Dos Fishermen’s Association
14. Sorina Coles, Batong Sandigan Development Foundation
15. Noli Abinales, Buklod Tao
16. Conrado Loyola, Catechesis Ministry of St. Joseph
17. Ochie Tolentino, Cavite Green Coalition
18. Ines Basean, Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines
19. Conrado Esemple, Columban Missionaries Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Ministry
20. Comm. Elsie De Veyra, Concerned Citizens Against Pollution
21. Grace Chua, Consumer Rights for Safe food
22. Alfredo Valenzuela, Cycling Residents of Industrial Valley
23. Jose Kwe, Ecology Ministry, Diocese of Kalookan
24. Fr. Allan V. Lopez, OP, Urban Poor Ministry, Diocese of Kalookan
25. Roy, Alvarez, Earth Renewal Project
26. Cha Bongat, Earth UST
27. Eloy Garcia, Ecology Ministry of Candelaria Parish
28. Elsie Retanan, Ecology Ministry of Resurrection Parish
29. Carmen Tapulado, Ecology Ministry of St. Joseph Parish
30. Antonio Claparols, Ecological Society of the Philippines
31. Javier Claparols, Ecological Society of the Philippines
32. Donna Reyes, Environmental Studies Institute
33. Rommel Ariola, Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Alliance, Philippines
34. Manny Calonzo, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives
35. Fr. John G. Leydon, Great Work Movement
36. Dr. Angelina Galang, Green Convergence for Safe Food, Healthy Environment and Sustainable Economy
37. Von Hernandez, Greenpeace Southeast Asia
38. Albert Gabino, Maskara – Green Stage Filipinas
39. Amie Fe Juane, Health Advocate for Nueva Ecija
40. Merci Ferrer, Health Care Without Harm-Southeast Asia
41. Florita Dumagan, HUGALNA – Albuquerque, Bohol
42. Egad Ligon, Initiative for Dialogue and Empowerment through Alternative Legal Services, Inc.
43. Lia Jasmin Esquillo, Interface Development Interventions, Inc.
44. Melinda Mallari, Isaiahville Home Owners Association
45. Fr. Ben Moraleda, Kaalagad Katipunang Kristiyano
46. Ray P. Abanil, KAISAMPALAD
47. Mila Boran, Kalikasan sa Kaunlaran
48. Nenita Ernacio, Koro ni San Jose
49. Neneng Jocson, Krusada sa Kalikasan
50. George Dadivas, Kupkop Kita Kabayan Foundation
51. Ma. Luz Lebrudo, Lay Minister of the Word St Joseph
52. Sigundina Aniano, Likhang Kalikasan – LIKAS
53. Sr. Aida Velasquez, Lingkod Tao Kalikasan
54. Allan T. Tura, Makabata para sa Bayan, Inc.
55. Melvin Saladino, MALAYA
56. Mamamayan Ayaw sa Aerial Spraying
57. Rogelio Abdulrachman Teves, Mindanao Regional Centre – Philippine Network of Rural Development Institutes
58. Tessa Oliva, Miriam P.E.A.CE.
59. Cathy Untalan, Miss Earth Foundation
60. Sr. Ma. Leonora Pataneg, Missionaries of Child Jesus
61. Sonia Mendoza, Mother Earth Foundation
62. Pamela Tapia, Nagkakaisang Mamamayan ng Maguyam – Cavite
63. Louie Lizano, Nagkakaisang Mananambakan sa Dumpsite Area
64. Rosario Ruado, Nagkakaisang Mananambakan sa Dumpsite Area
65. Amelou Benitez – Reyes, National Council of Women in the Philippines
66. Romy Hidalgo, November 17 Movement
67. Margie Lakanilao, Nueva Ecija Womens’ Leader Coalition
68. Noemi L. Pisigan, OFM Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation
69. Fr. Pete Montallana, OFM, Save Sierra Madre Network
70. Belinda Formanes, Partnership for Agrarian Reform and Rural Development Services
71. Rene Pineda, Partnership for Clean Air
72. Arturo Nuera, People’s Alternative Study Center for Research Education for Social Development
73. Dr. Romy Quijano, Pesticide Action Network – Philippines
74. Rogelio Abdulrachman Teves, Mindanao Regional Centre, Philippine Network of Rural Development Institutes
75. Bong Garcia, Phase 6 Bahayang Pagasa Homeowners Association
76. Bernie Aragoza, Philippine Greens
77. Dr. Teresita Barcelo, Philippine Nurses Association
78. Gani Serrano, Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement
79. Gean Puno, Philippine Women Christian Temperance Union
80. Troy Lacsama, Quezon City Public Library
81. Ester Sales, Quezon City Senior Citizens’ Association
82. Ben Galindo, Sagip Pasig Movement
83. Meth Jimenez, Sagip Pasig Movement
84. Bro. Martin Francisco, Sagip Sierra Madre Environmental Society, Inc.
85. Fr. Glenn Melo, Saint Pio Sustainable Agriculture, Diocese of Tandag – Surigao Del Sur
86. Marie Marciano, Sanib Lakas ng mga Aktibong Lingkod sa Inang Kalikasan
87. Charie Balaong, SARILAYA
88. Atty. Mon Salas, Sentro ng Alternatibong Lingap Panligal-Mindanaw
89. Angie Katoh, SIAD Initiaves in Mindanao Convergence for Asset Reform and Regional Development
90. Frances Jan Maria R. Lozano, Indigenous Peoples Advocacy Program, SILDAP-Southeastern Mindanao
91. Remedios Baclea-an, Shoreline Kabalikat sa Kinabukasan, Inc.
92. Bang Palacio, Sining Yapak
93. Dr. Helen Mendoza, SOLJUSPAX
94. Dr. Carmen Soingco, Soroptomist International – Quezon City
95. Rose Reyes, Ternatenos Against Landfill
96. Lourdes Andres, WomanHealth Philippines
97. Lilia Granada De Guia, Women’s Right Movement of the Philippines
98. Ofelia Panganiban, Zero Waste Philippines
99. Irma Parcela, Zero Waste Recycling Movement of the Philippines Foundation, Inc.
100. Patria Gwen M.L. Borcena, Alternative Research for Empowerment
101. Jodie Angeles, TFM – Negros
102. Edlyn Grace P. Corpuz, Atsitra Kalikasan
103. Nelia Manadus, Occupational Safety & Health Center
104. Keith Begona, Occupational Safety & Health Center
105. Engr. Mitzie C. Salvador, Manila Health Department
106. Myrna Ramirez, Occupational Health Nurses Association of the Philippines
107. Mrs. Evelyn Go, Innerwheel Club of the Philippines
108. Joseph Gandacilia, Buklod Kabataan
109. Ramon Guerero, Buklod Kabataan
110. Genilyn Gatil, Buklod Kabataan
111. Marco Bernaldez, Buklod Kabataan
112. Rechiel Mandigma, Buklod Kabataan
113. Shyra De Guzman, Buklod Kabataan
114. Shaira Ramos, Buklod Kabataan
115. Bena Rose Feliciano, Buklod Kabataan
116. Rizza Lei K. Giron, Buklod Kabataan
117. Margarita Mojica, St. Gregory the Great Ecology Ministry
118. Adelaida Samson, St. Gregory the Great Ecology Ministry
119. Elsie Retanan, Risen Christ Parish
120. Rogelio Loberiano, Brgy. Yakal Silang Cavite
121. Alip U. Mintu, Shoreline Kabalikat sa Kinabukasan, Inc.
122. Maria L. Mintu, Shoreline Kabalikat sa Kinabukasan, Inc.
123. Nilda Va. Salera, Shoreline Kabalikat sa Kinabukasan, Inc.
124. Virginia Abad, PRRM-NAMAMANGKA
125. Judie Ojena, PRRM-NAMAMANGKA
126. Rahon Reyes, PRRM-NAMAMANGKA
127. Leoner Batulayan, Stewards of God’s Creation – AUP
128. Gilbert Sansa, Stewards of God’s Creation – AUP
129. Sr. Shirley Agoo ICR, Ecology Ministry of Rosario Cavite
130. Eileen B. Sison, Institute for the Development of Education and Ecological Alternatives
131. Ronnel U. Lim, Health Care Without Harm – Southeast Asia
132. Erlinda B. Apigo, NSTP – Philippine Women’s University
133. Bishop Deogracias Iniguez, Jr. D.D.
134. Dr. Cerilio Jalad, Mayor of Albuquerque, Bohol
135. Hitoshi Katayama
136. Marrio Mapanao
137. Atty. Amang Mejia
138. Atty. Golly Estenzo-Ramos
139. Dr. Lester Saguiguit-Lora
140. Danny James B. Tapales
141. Vic Tagopa
142. Prof. Angelina Nunag Tiotangco
143. Sheila Marie Samonte
Unit 329, Eagle Court Condominium, Matalino St.
Quezon City, Philippines
+63 2 441-1846